Daniil Medvedev may not win any popularity contests at Flushing Meadows but he remained on course for a US Open title by taming Stan Wawrinka to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal.
The fifth-seeded Russian saved a set point in the opening tiebreak and twice needed extensive treatment on his legs as he ended the run of the Swiss veteran 7-6(6) 6-3 3-6 6-1 in two hours and 34 minutes.
Wawrinka, the 2016 champion, might have felt he might have another retirement on his hands, having seen previous opponent Novak Djokovic quit in the third set of their match two nights earlier, but that was not the case on Tuesday.
Medvedev improved his tour-leading total to 49 victories this year to become the youngest semifinalist in New York since Novak Djokovic in 2010.
* Youngest #USOpen semi-finalist since 2010 (@DjokerNole)
* 1st Russian in Grand Slam SF since 2010 @USOpen (Youzhny)
* Seeks @ATP_Tour-best 50th win of 2019 in SF
* Earned 4 straight 4-set wins (0-4 in 5-setters)
* Won 13 straight QFs since 2018 St. Petersburg
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) September 3, 2019
“It was a really strange match. I had real pain in my quadriceps and thought I couldn’t finish. I feel really strange but I am happy to be in my first major semi,” the 23-year-old said.
He will play five-time champion Roger Federer or unseeded Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in the final.
Medvedev was public enemy No.1 among the Flushing Meadows fans after he flipped them a ‘visual obscenity’ during his third-round match last week and provoked them again by performing a dance after claiming victory in the fourth round.
But there were none of those antics or sparring with the crowd on Tuesday as a focused Medvedev put his head down and got on with the job before extending an olive branch to the crowd.
“I have to say sorry guys and thank you,” a sheepish Medvedev said in his on-court interview.
“I have two words (to describe the US Open). First one for sure ‘electric’ because it is electric and second ‘controversy’ because what I have done is not good.
“So many people support me still, so many people like my interview, so many people don’t like me and I can just say I try to be myself guys.”
Having reached three consecutive ATP Tour finals coming into Flushing Meadows, including a maiden Masters 1000 title win in Cincinnati, Medvedev looked much more like the hottest player in tennis in a dominant second set.
Yet the barrel-chested Swiss broke Medvedev at the first opportunity in the third before holding on to force a fourth set.
Medvedev, however, grabbed the early break in the fourth and a second to go 5-1 up before closing out the match with a cheeky lob.
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